Carbon dioxide has been named as the chief culprit in rampant “ocean acidification” which, according to environmentalists on the Natural Resources Defense Council, will soon start killing off fish and dissolving coral reefs, putting a major dent in the seafood and eco-tourism industries.
According to a 2009 statement by Britain’s Royal Society, co-signed by Dr. James Hansen, of NASA’s Goddard Center, and Dr. Mark Spalding of The Nature Conservancy:
“Temperature‐induced mass coral bleaching causing widespread mortality on the Great Barrier Reef and many other reefs of the world started when atmospheric CO2 exceeded 320ppm.
"At today’s level of ~ 387ppm CO2, reefs are seriously declining and time‐lagged effects will result in their continued demise with parallel impacts on other marine and coastal ecosystems...
"Proposals to limit CO2 levels to 450ppm will not prevent the catastrophic loss of coral reefs from the combined effects of global warming and ocean acidification.To ensure the long‐term viability of coral reefs the atmospheric CO2 level must be reduced significantly below 350ppm.”
Except that there’s practically no evidence that the depth in which coral shells dissolve faster than they accumulate has gotten any shallower over the past 250 years, geoscientist David Middleton points out in “Chicken Little of the Sea Strikes Again”.
“There is solid evidence that elevated atmospheric CO2 levels have actually caused carbonate deposition to increase over the last 220 years,” Middleton writes.
In fact, CO2 may actually be good for coral reefs. “It appears that in addition to being plant food… CO2 is also reef food,” he points out:
“Over the last 400+ years the Earth’s climate has warmed ~0.6°, mean sea level has risen by about 9 inches and the atmosphere has become about 100 ppmv more enriched with CO2; and the Great Barrier Reef has responded by steadily growing faster…. Once again, we have an environmental catastrophe that is entirely supported by predictive computer models and totally unsupported by correlative and empirical scientific data,” he concludes.
“We can safely pitch ocean acidification into the dustbin of junk science.”